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Confused Consumers Need Better CE Advice

Video Business reports that nearly half of U.S. consumers plan to buy a new TV as an upgrade to their home entertainment system, but they remain 'confused about purchases' -- according to research by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

CEA found that all levels of consumers are focusing more on home entertainment systems as they watch more movies at home, but many are confused about what type of system they have, which components they need and how much home theater systems cost. The survey polled 2,403 adults July 20-31, 2006.

The TV market is nearing $20 billion in 2006, the biggest it has been, according to CEA. The survey found that 47 percent of consumers said they plan to buy a new TV.

Another 25 percent said they plan to purchase wireless speakers. Just 21 percent said they planned to upgrade their DVD player, which is not too surprising as 73 percent of consumers already have a DVD player. More surprising is the 18 percent who still plan to buy a new VCR.

Overall, CEA estimates that consumers will spend $8 billion in the next year on home entertainment systems.

The group broke consumers into three categories: 'entry-level buyers' who have spent less than $3,500 on their system (77 percent of consumers), 'move-up buyers' who have spent less than $25,000 (22 percent) and 'custom home theater consumers' who have spent more than $25,000. All groups said video and sound quality were the most important factors in upgrading.

Clearly, the survey results offer further proof that there's a need for greater consumer education and guidance. I particularly favor creating microsites that are dedicated to the cause of removing this confusion -- with independent expert and/or peer-group reviews that offer meaningful CE device selection and connection advice to any consumer (regardless of their spending budget).

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